This year, our school has 3 school-wide goals. Here’s the 3rd goal:
This year, as a district, we will be focusing on two of the eight science and engineering practices from the Conceptual Framework of the Next Generation Science Standards:
#7–Engaging in argument from evidence
#8–Obtaining, evaluating and communicating information
My PLC looked at this goal and discussed how to apply this to our foreign language classes. We know we have to provide lots of different types of input in order for our students to get new information and give them opportunities to DO something with the information they’ve received. This week in my AP French class, I kept this in mind while designing a lesson about comparing and contrasting schools in France and the US.
One of the sections on the AP French exam requires students to do an oral presentation comparing and contrasting a certain aspect of life in our community to a Francophone community. For this unit, it was important that we learn something new about a certain aspect (EDUCATION) from several sources and also focus on strategies to compare and contrast.
I started by showing my students this map. It happened to be September 1st when we did this activity, so the only question I asked was “Why is today an important day in France?” I was hoping they would find today’s date next to “La Rentrée” and then use the context of the map to figure out what it meant. (they did!)
As they were answering that question, they also discussed the dates of vacations. I heard them saying things like “Whoa, a 2 week break in February would be awesome!” I could tell they were obtaining and evaluating information. Then as a class we discussed the similarities and differences in our school calendars, the nomenclature of our breaks (this map calls the break in December “Christmas Vacation”), the fact that all schools in France start and end on the same day, etc.
Then in groups, the students got together and made Venn Diagrams comparing and contrasting education in France to education in the US. They could use their Chromebooks to access the web to clarify any points or to look things up. (For example, they looked up the laws in Alabama about how long a student must stay in school.)
In the lower levels, we haven’t done a lot of practice on writing comparisons and contrasts, so I knew we weren’t ready to really DO anything yet with the new information we learned from the graph and the video. Luckily, I found this blog written by American college students who studied abroad in France. One of their posts compares and contrasts 3 aspects of life in France to the US: food, transportation, and family. We read the blog post together and looked at how the writers introduced each topic, added images, and used certain terminology when introducing their ideas.
Using the blog as a sort of template, the students then were grouped together to write a blog post together that compared and contrasted education in the US and France. They wrote their first drafts using a shared Google Doc, and then Natalie, one of my students, actually created a new blog called Selon Nous which means “According to Us.” (Last year she had a fictional blog called Selon Moi- so great to see it realized!!). After a revision and some help from me, the students all uploaded their posts (even my students from SPHS!) onto the class blog, or in other words, they communicated information.
Stay tuned to Selon Nous for more posts by my awesome AP students!